Iran considers alternatives to Azerbaijani transit corridor
Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development Kheirollah Khademi visited Armenia on Monday to discuss options for Iran’s participation in the completion of the Tatev project in the neighboring country.
The Tatev route in Armenia is seen as an alternative route for Iranian transit trucks crossing Russia and Europe, IRNA reported.
Azerbaijan claims possession of less than 20 kilometers of the 400-kilometer road between the Norduz border post and Yerevan.
Last month, Azerbaijani forces blocked part of the overland route for a few days and imposed heavy tolls on Iranian trucks carrying goods to Armenia.
On September 12, Azerbaijani officers began arresting and taxing Iranian trucks delivering goods to and from Armenia. Many truck drivers refused to pay the “road tax” which is said to be between $ 150 and $ 350 per vehicle, Azatutyun.am reported.
Two of them were arrested by Azerbaijani authorities for allegedly traveling to Nagorno-Karabakh without permission from Baku. Iran’s foreign ministry called for their immediate release over the weekend.
Completion of the Tatev road would help Iranian truckers bypass Azerbaijan on their way to Armenia, Russia and Europe.
Iran is also preparing to bypass Azerbaijan with more direct sea routes. “The destination of trucks carrying export goods is mainly Russia; a small number of trucks have Armenia and Azerbaijan as final destinations. Considering the problems created by Azerbaijan for Iranian trucks, the best scenario would be for all Iranian trucks to reach Russia or Armenia directly by sea, ”said the managing director of Gilan Ports and Maritime Organization, Hamidreza Abaei.
“The availability of infrastructure is crucial in maritime transport. Ports must have adequate infrastructure to handle ro-ro ships [cargo ships designed to carry wheeled cargo]. Bandar Anzali managed to accommodate 12 ro-ro ships, but we failed to establish inter-organizational coordination in the handling of trucks carrying goods to the Commonwealth of Independent States, such as Russia and Kazakhstan, and even Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, ”he said. by ILNA.
Noting that in addition to Bandar Anzali, the port of Astara will soon be ready to accommodate ro-ro ships, the official said: “Accepting a ship to transport freight trucks to Russia requires dredging and the creation of the right depth, but the problem more than the length of stay of the truck in ports and the arrival and departure of ships should be clarified. This is only possible when all organizations, including the Headquarters for Combating Smuggling of Goods and Currency, the Customs Administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research d Iran, are working in unison to set a precise timetable for trucks and ships. “Stay in the ports. “
Iran is concerned about the problems related to the use of infrastructure connecting Armenia to Iran, Iranian Ambassador Abbas Badakhshan Zohouri said in a meeting with Armenian Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan.
Grigoryan said Armenia realizes the sensitivity of the issue to Iranian partners and attaches importance to the prompt resolution of the issue, Armenia State Radio reported recently.
“The Iranian side, including the embassy, is trying to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” Zohouri said.
He stressed that Tehran hopes that the Armenian government will speed up the ongoing reconstruction of an alternative route to Syunik “so that Iranian drivers can transport goods in safe and secure conditions”.
Hervic Yarijanian, head of the Iran-Armenia Chamber of Commerce, said Azerbaijan was trying to harm Tehran-Yerevan trade, which would also affect Iran’s trade with the Eurasian Economic Union.
“Based on the Iran-UEE preferential trade agreement, Iran’s observer status period has ended and we must now be on the verge of becoming a permanent member. Here, the volume of economic interactions between Iran and the five EAEU member countries is of great importance. However, the new measure of the Azerbaijani government blocks the easy movement of goods between Iran and Armenia, ”he said, quoted by ILNA.
The official complained that the new billing policy for Iranian trucks bound for Armenia is aimed at obstructing the entry of Iranian goods into the neighboring country and increasing their final prices, depriving Iranian products of their competitive advantage.
“By creating delays for Iranian products in entering the Armenian market, a vacuum will be created which will, no doubt, soon be filled with products from other rival countries,” he added.
Noting that Armenia invited Iran to join the Eurasian bloc in the first place, Yarijanian said the country has played an important role in changing Iran’s status from an observer member to a permanent one.
“Once that happens, our trade with EEU members, Armenia in particular, is expected to increase. Seeing this coming, some regional states are not exactly happy, ”he added.
The official noted that before the hindrance caused by Azerbaijan, Iran-Armenia trade was gradually gaining momentum and Iranian goods were gaining a foothold in this neighboring market.
“Iranian companies have gone to great lengths and spent a lot to find their way into the Armenian market over the years, which, given the new state of events created by Azerbaijan, could all be lost,” he said. he declared.
“We call on the Iranian government to intervene through diplomatic methods to remove this obstacle and keep Tehran-Yerevan trade on a growth path. ”